Patient Care Technician Certification: How To Increase Pass Rates

HealthCenter21 is one more way to review the material, to go through and look at the material at their own pace. It's another avenue for them to go through the material, besides flashcards, besides a book, besides listening to me talk... it's a tool in my big resource basket for the students.

Lynne Clarke
A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet, GA

Are you a high school health science instructor looking to increase student success on the patient care technician certification exam? Lynne Clarke and the other teachers at A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet in Augusta, GA are doing just that.

In Georgia, students use the PCT certification as a stepping stone to accomplish their healthcare career goals. The instructors at A.R. Johnson see the Patient Care Technician certificate as a way to make their students better candidates in the healthcare field.

These health science teachers use the HealthCenter21 curriculum to prepare students for the Patient Care Technician certification. What are their pass rates? In 2014, the students had a 100% pass rate on the CPT, EKG, and CPCT/A test. Those students performed 17% better than the national average.


About Lynne Clark and A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet

Clarke has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and started her medical career as an EMT, then paramedic, and later a registered nurse. Clark started teaching at the technical college level which led to a job in high school 15 years ago. It is there that Clarke fell in love with high school and has been in high school ever since, while keeping her medical skills fresh by working in an emergency room setting for 24+ hours each month.

A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet offers several Georgia Pathways in health science. Clarke was lucky enough to have some input on rewriting some of the state curriculum for those courses. A.R. Johnson is unique in that students start in ninth grade as opposed to tenth grade, which is the norm. This early start gives students the opportunity to finish more than one pathway. And many of these students graduate as dual or even triple completers.


Patient Care Technician Education and Certification

When asked how Clarke got involved specifically with the Patient Care Technician program, she responded:

“When I came here, the school had been moving in that direction and that is what they asked me to do. We also offer emergency medical responder. They asked me to do that and my EMS background and my emergency nursing background were a perfect fit for that and so that is what we did.”

At that time, every student completed Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and then went onto PCT. Clarke explained, “The combination of those two is a very strong certification for students.”

Clarke’s opinion is that students use the Patient Care Technician certification to make themselves a better candidate to work their way through further schooling and training. And this is a wise move, as Clarke shared, “Many, many post-secondary clinical based programs require students to have some hands-on bedside experience. With all the new HIPAA laws, it's virtually impossible to get that unless you're in school.”


Challenges with Teaching Patient Care Technician Curriculum

For Clarke, one of the biggest challenges with teaching a Patient Care Technician course has been the lack of a relevant textbook. There simply isn’t one in existence. To cover the material with textbooks alone, you’d need about four of them. “I don't know any school that can afford four books for one course. Plus all of those books go far beyond the content needed for PCT. There's not a good textbook… I've begged, borrowed, and stolen resources from lots of different places to limp through this,” she explained.


How To Prepare Students for the Patient Care Technician Certification

How do these instructors use HealthCenter21 to prepare students for the Patient Care Technician certification? Because there is a lack of relevant textbooks and resources for programs focusing on Patient Care Technician, having HealthCenter21 has been a huge help.

HealthCenter21 gives the students a different view and way to absorb the material they need to know to be successful. The instructors use the curriculum along with some other resources that Lynne Clarke has procured to ensure students get a good base of knowledge to pass the test.

“HealthCenter21 is one more way to review for the material, to go through and look at the material at their own pace. It's another avenue for them to go through the material, another way besides flashcards, besides a book, besides listening to me talk... it's a tool in my big resource basket for the students.”

How are her students doing on with Patient Care Technician certification? The first year she taught, her students had a 95% pass rate on the NHA exam. In 2014, her students had an amazing 100% pass rate on the CPT, EKG, and PCT exams. And that’s nothing to take lightly. Clarke’s students are performing 17% better than the national average for the NHA exam.

Lynne Clarke has a proven track record with preparing students for the PCT certification exams and for preparing students for a future in the health care industry. As a National Health Science Educators Consortium Master Teacher, Clarke also has put together some useful information about getting a patient care technician program started. To learn more, visit her website: W.L. Clarke Consulting

Download the National Health Science Assessment Guide